Archive for October, 2011
Metro: Last Light, sequel to Metro 2033 title, is aiming technology throne with DX 11, tesselation and support for GPU accelerated PhysX effects. PCGamesHardware.com had the chance to talk with Oles Shishkovtsov, Chief Technology Officer at 4A Games, about improvements that are planned for PC version of the game.
Update: Metro Last Light – GPU PhysX effects explored
PC Games Hardware: You keep the support for GPU PhysX in Metro Last Light. If so can we expect some improvements or enhancements compared to Metro 2033 (e.g. soft bodies, debris, and destructible environments)? What graphics card do you recommend for maxed details in Full HD with Antialiasing? An upcoming Nvidia Kepler-based Geforce for example?
Oles Shishkovtsov: Yes, you can expect a lot of improvements, especially in destruction and debris. The upcoming Geforce cards will be fully supported.
PC Games Hardware: When benchmarking Metro 2033 we found out that the engine utilized more than four cores of multicore CPUs if we were using the advanced PhysX effects on CPU, so you are utilizing Nvidias PhysX SDK 3.x? Will all the advanced PhysX effects only be available in PC version?
Oles Shishkovtsov: That’s the common misconception that PhysX 2.X cannot be multithreaded. Actually it is internally designed to be multithreaded! The only thing – it takes some programmer time to enable that multi-threading (actually task generation), mostly to integrate with engine task-model and ensure proper load-balancing. So, 2033 used PhysX 2.8.3, and Last Light uses similar, a slightly modified version at the time of writing. And yes, advanced PhysX effects will be available only on PC.
However, we are hoping that this time Metro will be able to surprise us with more than two minor particle effects (as in Metro 2033 – while “debris, smoke and dust” were promised) and it won’t require “upcoming GeForce card” to run those GPU PhysX effects with playble framerate.
New version of Hybrid PhysX mod was released today by GenL – yet another round of confrontation between Hybrid PhysX community and NVIDIA.
1.05ff – 26/10/2011:
- added support for fixing new limitations introduced in 285.xx drivers and PhysX System Software 9.11.0621
- mod will now delete all application 3D settings profiles from NVIDIA Control Panel (prevents problems with known PhysX games)
- updated old patterns
As revealed in latest interview, NVIDIA still has no plans to support AMD + NV PhysX systems officially, but admits modified drivers as opportunity for users to achieve desired result.
For download, FAQ and installation instructions please refer to Hybrid PhysX thread at NGOHQ
Almost four years has passed since NVIDIA aquired Ageia and presented their version of hardware accelerated PhysX Technology. However, anyone who is watching GPU PhysX progress closely can say, that so far it has not shown any significant advancement – but is the fight already lost or is it just taking time to harness up, but will ride fast?
We got a chance to chat with Tony Tamasi, Senior Vice President of Content & Technology in NVIDIA, Ashu Rege, Vice President of Content & Technology, and Rev Lebaredian, Director of Engineering, to clear up these questions, and recieve some insider information on future development plans for PhysX SDK and NVIDIA APEX toolset.
PhysXInfo.com: Over last years, amount of GPU PhysX games is actually decreasing. There were five games in 2009, three in 2010 and so far only one in 2011. How can you explain that?
Tony Tamasi: It was a choice on our part. We had a large amount of resources we could otherwise dedicate to content, but we needed to advance the core technology. We needed to get PhysX 3 done, and we needed to get APEX done to the degree where it is usable by game developers. We had to put a lot of resources there, which meant that some of those resources weren’t directly working on games.
But in the long term, game developers can actually use PhysX and APEX, and make use of the GPU without significant amounts of effort, so that a year or two years from now more games will come out using GPU physics.
Rev Lebaredian: When we initially acquired Ageia, we made a big effort to move many games over to GPU PhysX. We learned a lot in that period of time: getting GPU physics into games, what are the problems, what works and what doesn’t. That gave us the opportunity to regroup, refocus, and figure out how to do it correctly.
We made a conscious decision. After we did a bunch of PhysX and APEX games in 2009 and early 2010, we said “Ok, we have learned enough, we need to sit down and focus on finishing APEX and changing it based on what we just learned, as well as PhysX 3”. Doing as many titles as we were doing before was just going to slow us down.
It made more sense to slow down the content pipeline but get the tools right, but that puts us in the position when once those are complete, it is actually less work for us to get PhysX in games.
This slowdown has not been because of any problems. It is something that we have decided to do.
First trailer, showcasing supplementary GPU PhysX content for upcoming Batman: Arkham City title in comparison to normal “console” physics layer, was revealed today.
Update: PhysX in Batman: Arkham City article at GeForce.com
Some effects, like SPH smoke, cloth banners and “dynamic” paper, are familiar for us from previous Batman game, others, like intense particle effects, are promising new experience and immersion.
Slightly delayed PC version of Batman: Arkham City is set to be released at November 18, 2011.
List of publicly available free binary PhysX SDKs includes SDK for Windows PC, Linux, Mac OSX and, for the first time, Android platforms.
Update #2: PhysX SDK 3.2 Beta released
PhysX SDK 3.1 Release Notes:
- VC10 support has been introduced.
- VC8 support has been discontinued.
- Upgraded GPU tech to CUDA 4.
- Various improvements to Foundation and classes shared with APEX.
- Extensions, Character Controller and Vehicle source code made available in binary distribution.
- Namespaces cleaned up.
- Cleaned up a large number of warnings at C++ warning level 4, and set SDK to compile with warnings as errors.
- No longer passing NULL pointers to user allocator to deallocate.
- Added x86,x64 suffix to PxTaskCUDA.dll
- Removed boolean return value from PxScene::addActor(…), and similar API calls.
- Removed individual sample executables in favor of SampleAllInOne from PC and console builds.
- Fixed alpha blending in samples.
- Simplified some code in samples.
- Improved ambient lighting in samples.
- Made samples work with older graphics cards.
- Renamed some XBOX 360 specific files and folders.
- Improved and added more content the user’s guide.